In our last blog post, we looked at a study supporting the use of acupressure to treat cancer-related fatigue (CRF). CRF is a common and persistent side effect of cancer treatment that can affect patients for years, resulting in a draining lack of energy that makes it difficult to do the things you love. CRF is just one type of chronic fatigue, and these conditions have proven notoriously difficult to treat using Western medicine alone. But many patients have found lasting relief through a combination of acupuncture, self-administered acupressure, and other methods of self-care.
Many patients who come to us with fatigue tell us they feel reinvigorated after a session of acupuncture. While we’re always delighted to hear that, we want to ensure all our patients feel their best between sessions as well. Here are the self-care methods we recommend to help combat fatigue and give you more energy throughout the day.
Acupressure Massages: Where to Apply Pressure, and Which Oils to Use
In our previous post, we discussed five acupoints that, when gently stimulated for three minutes each per day, helped many patients find relief from their fatigue and get a better quality of sleep. In that post, you can see a chart showing you where to find these acupoints on your body; some are for stimulating acupressure, and others for relaxation acupressure. Both can be very effective.
Use your thumb or index finger finger to apply pressure and gently massage the acupoint, reducing the pressure slightly if it starts to hurt. These acupressure massages are easy to perform and are not painful; in fact, they can feel very pleasurable.
We recommend the use of essential oils to complement your acupressure regime and boost its effectiveness. For fatigue, rub a drop of lavender oil on the acupoints recommended for relaxation, and a drop of peppermint oil on the acupoints for stimulation. These pleasant scents can be incredibly uplifting, making your self-care regime something that you look forward to all day.
In addition to massaging these acupoints, acupressure expert Michael Reed Gach suggests vigorously rubbing the soft area of your lower back beneath your ribcage. Use your knuckles or your thumbs, and perform this action several times a day.
Food, Supplements, and Other Lifestyle Changes
The food you eat can have a profound impact on your energy levels. In his book Secrets of Self-Healing, Dr. Mao Shing Ni notes that patients with fatigue should focus on filling their diet with plenty of fresh fruit (including watermelon, berries, and pears) and organic protein sources (such as chicken, eggs, and deep sea fish).
To give yourself a regular boost of energy throughout the day, eat smaller meals at frequent intervals, and avoid foods that will drain your energy. This includes dairy products, simple sugars, nightshade vegetables (like tomatoes and eggplant), and alcohol.
Daily vitamin and mineral supplements can also support your body’s functions and correct the imbalances that may be causing your fatigue. We recommend the three unique supplements in dōTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality Pack (LLV), which includes whole-food multi-vitamins, fish oils, and antioxidants. You can learn about them from Dr. Axe in this quick video.
When you’re fatigued, it can be tempting to nap often and for extended periods. Instead, try to take a single nap for no longer than half an hour in the middle of the day, and get at least eight hours of sleep every night. If you’re exhausted throughout the day, focus on light exercise to stimulate your energy and raise your metabolism, like going for a gentle walk for 10 minutes. You can gradually increase how much exercise you do over time, until you’re walking for 30-45 minutes per day.
Overcoming fatigue with alternative therapies
Fatigue is frustrating and sometimes debilitating to live with. But with alternative therapies like acupuncture and self-care, many patients find their energy levels increase and their quality of life improves.
Our acupuncturists are highly-knowledgeable about acupressure and self-care, and are more than happy to discuss ways that you can get the most out of your treatment. Book a session with us for acupuncture or a free essential oil wellness consultation and let’s focus on bringing your energy back for good.